Those whom God uses (the humble church)
Reading: Luke 14:1, 7-14
Additional reading: Matt 20:25-27, 21:33-34
When we read the Bible, it seemed there was the proud church in Jerusalem.
This church didn’t obey God.
The proud run this church as they see fit.
It seems people of this church worked for their glory.
They worked to make themselves known.
Meaning, they didn’t serve God or glorify God.
They don’t mind using various tricks to make their church grow.
They use their worldly methods to to make their church fund grow.
When God blesses them, they only give glory to their own worldly tricks.
Then they made their church structure is also hierarchical.
So when people became church officials, they insisted their own opinion and ordered people around.
People came to experience God.
But they looked down on them and rule over them.
They were not honest with them.
Then some cult members came to their church, easily proved that they were good workers.
They showed that they had a lot of energy for the church.
They had worked hard for the church.
Then the proud thought these people are very dedicated to the church.
Then they attract all kind of the proud.
Some of their members speak and act like as if everyone should listen to them.
They didn’t try to make decisions asking what the Holy Spirit wants.
They speak like as if God were their servant.
They looked down on the poor.
But still the proud didn’t repent of all what they did.
Since this church was going like this for a long time, God was able to say:
“That is not my church.
I don’t know them.”
But then it seemed a member of this church invited Jesus for a meal.
So Jesus came to their home.
Other church members came to see Jesus.
Then they tried to take the better seat.
Jesus watched as they tried to pick the places of honor at the table.
They think that humility is not a virtue at a time like this.
They wanted to show their power.
They wanted people to respect them.
You know after all, they were the ones who gave more donations to the church than anybody.
They were big contributors.
So later Jesus started to say like this:
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor.
Someone more important than you may have been invited.
So the host might come and say to you:
‘You are in the wrong place.
This place of honor belongs to this man.’
“Then you will be humiliated in front of everyone.
Then you go down and sit at the very last table, that is only left at that time.
“So, when you are invited, take the lowest place.
The host may come to you and say:
‘My friend, come up to the front.’
Then you will be honored in front of everyone.
“Like that, if you exalt yourself, you will be humbled.
If you humble yourself, you will be exalted.”
This is God’s law.
This is God’s spiritual law.
It is more than a practical advice.
But only those who believe in God could accept these words.
God is humble.
So God loves those who are humble.
So God uses the humble.
God works with those who take the lowest place of honor.
God will honor them in front of everyone.
God will say to them:
"My friends, move up to a better place."
In God’s humble church, God honors those who humble themselves.
The humble experience the humble God who dwells in their humble hearts comfortably.
So when Jesus builds his church, Jesus builds with the humble.
The humble enjoy a good relationship with God.
The humble live very well with God.
Jesus understands how God works.
So Jesus is saying:
“If you want to go some higher place of honor, humbly wait on God washing other’s feet just like I have.”
Jesus lived the life of the humble:
Even though Jesus made this world, when he came to this world, Jesus took the lowest place of honor.
But people didn’t think that this kind of person is their creator.
The proud didn’t think he was their Messiah.
Only God knew who Jesus is.
And Jesus touched the very heart of God.
So God started to lift him up.
When God lifted him up, nobody can stand against him.
All people can see soon or later.
This is God’s heavenly law.
But life is complex.
So sometimes, it does not look like God blesses the humble.
But if we wait, we will see that God bless the humble soon or later.
To understand that, we read the story of Jesus.
We need to understand God who live like Jesus.
When we understand, we learn that that the humble way is beautiful.
So we follow the gentle and humble Jesus and humble ourselves.
We humbly welcome children and play with them.
They humbly help people.
Like this. we also humbly become like God.
Then we wait humbly as God uses us and lifts us up.
Jesus the Christ also honors the humble in his church.
Sometimes, when one humble person appears at a church, this person may change the whole church.
Because they serve humbly and set an example for other people.
They love to serve.
They only want to glorify their God.
They practice what Jesus teaches them.
Other people learn about Jesus looking at them.
Other people are encouraged to follow Jesus.
The whole church notices this humble person listens to God and does God’s will.
They watch God uses the person.
They watch how they serve God and work with Jesus according to his will.
They see God shows up and does what God desires.
So because of this one person, everyone learns God’s humility.
Then people of this church is not like any others.
Because God turns this church right-side up.
People respect those who serve others.
People listen and understand each other.
Everybody serves each other.
And many things get done according to God’s will.
God bless this church as they obey God.
God chooses to work with them.
God works powerfully in the church.
God builds his church.
People experience the presence of God.
God is freely doing his work.
God enriches their life, as well.
They enjoy, having a good fellowship and friendship with God.
Then even their neighbors see that God is at work.
Then when they come to this church, they also learn God’s humble way.
They learn to follow the humble way.
So they learn about the humble God likes to work with this church.
When I watch the humble, they seem to live like this.
First of all, they want to do what God asks them to do.
So they want to hear God and discern God’s will.
They do this, because they know whatever God says will happen.
So they want to learn to discern God’s voice first.
And this is their starting point.
They believe in God's power.
They pray and trust in God.
They humbly pray and wait on God to do his work.
Then God shows up.
God works in their life and in the life of their church.
The humble live wisely.
The humble also ask God about God’s plan for next 5, 10 and 20 years.
You know why.
They want to prepare for their future.
God may use the humble to bring church together.
God may use the humble to help people live peacefully together.
They are also wise financially, because they do not spend money just to be looked nice.
They seem to do a lot of good works with less money.
They use money that God gives in God’s way.
So God can do a lot works through them.
The humble don’t worry about money though.
They just want to hear God and do what God wants.
Then as they obey, God provides money and everything.
As they obey, God blesses them financially.
God can also freely bless them.
God does not worry when God bless them.
God freely blesses them as they do what God would do in this world.
They understand God, live like God, experience God, and think like God.
So God lifts them up so that everyone can see them.
As they believe in God, God is having an easier time to bless them.
God uses them to bless people.
God uses them to bless the poor.
God uses them to continue the ministry of Jesus.
Today Jesus also said to his host something like this:
“When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors.
Other people may build their world taking care of their friends, family, relatives and rich neighbors.
They may invite those who succeed in life for a meal.
Don’t do that.
They have enough without your help.
They may easily invite you back and pay you back.
“So when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.
Then you will experience the kingdom of God.
God will bless you.
Although they cannot repay you, God will repay you at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Jesus invited people to sit with the poor and share their life with them.
Jesus is saying:
“Let God bless you, by offering a party to those who could not invite you back.
Offer a party to those who don’t know you.
Offer a party to the poor.
God will remember and pay you back.”
Jesus is saying to his church.
Jesus is saying:
“If a church offers a party to the poor, God would be very happy.
God would also provide money for the church to do what God wants.”
God is looking for the humble who obey to serve the poor.
God is looking for the humble church:
Because the humble would not look down on the poor.
The humble would not serve the poor as if they were better than the poor.
The humble would not lose their humble holiness.
The humble would become their friends and companions.
They will just share their life with them.
That is what is beautiful.
That touched the very heart of God.
So God uses the humble to bless the poor.
The humble love God.
The humble continually serve God.
And they may ask these questions to themselves:
What does God have been saying to me?
What do I know about God’s will for me?
How may I grow and mature in terms of faith?
Do I really want to obey God?
Do I seek only God’s glory?
Do I trust God?
Do I fear God in the right way?
Do I find God’s humble character in me?
Am I humble like God?
How am I becoming like Jesus?
When do I experience Jesus in my lives?
Does God use me?
How does God use me?
Is God working with me comfortably?
Does the Holy Spirit want to stay with me and like to work with me?
How does God bless me?
May we continually be the humble church that obeys what the humble God asks of us.
Jesus, help us to understand the mind of Jesus.
Help us to serve God.
Help us to have an humble attitude as we serve God and people.
If I have been trying to lord it over other people, please forgive me and change my mind so that I may serve you, only you.
Help us to understand Jesus and serve like Jesus.
Help us to understand so that we may respect those whom you like to work with.
Help us to walk humbly with you, our living God.
In Jesus name, we pray.